May 22, 2013
This year Ireland is organising ‘The Gathering’. It is a celebration of the bonds that unite Irish people; a call to all, whether Irish born, Irish bred or Irish in spirit, to get involved and celebrate a year of connections. Throughout the world, families of the Irish Diaspora will celebrate their origins and what it is that makes them who they are.
The Mercy Global family today is an immense and far reaching family. Would that we had accurate statistics! We know there are over 8000 Sisters, almost 5000 Mercy Associates and well over a quarter of a million partners in ministry. Add to that our friends in Mercy and the hundreds of thousands that are or have been served by Mercy ministry around the world and the figure is extraordinary.
While the members of this immense family may claim several ancestral backgrounds, all can claim their Mercy origins in Catherine, the Irish woman, who in 1827 built the first house of Mercy in Dublin. Since then, Mercy has spread across the globe and is present today in a multitude of settings in 42 countries
Imagine what it would be like to have a ‘Mercy Gathering’ – to celebrate together the bonds that unite us. Well, maybe that would be beyond the bounds of possibility in the physical sense, but we found last year that we could gather symbolically around the world. Our experience of the ‘Good Cup of Tea’ event was that it provided a setting to celebrate who we are as Mercy and to enjoy what it is that connects us. So this year, in the spirit of the Gathering, we are repeating the invitation:
Each week, e-News provides us with a space to tell our Mercy Stories – to share our news online about the needs that call for a Mercy response today and about the things we’re doing as well as our challenges and our particular joys.The Gathering is a special time to remember and tell ‘family stories’. We have a lot of stories to tell!
One of the stories we are inviting you to tell this year is the historical and contemporary story of Catherine’s special regard for women at risk. We will prepare a ‘story pack’ which will be available to you should you wish to use it. It will provide stories from Catherine’s time about her response to women at risk, as well as stories relating to trafficked women today, and how Mercy reaches out to that need. You may like to add in your own local stories as well.
Because of the special significance of 11/11/11, we designated the 11th November, 2011, the 170th anniversary of Catherine’s death as the day for the ‘Good Cup of Tea’ event. It was, of course, a reminder of Catherine’s caring concern for others even in her last moments : ‘Be sure the Sisters have a good cup of tea when I am gone’. This year, we are suggesting that there be a season in which the ‘Good Cup of Tea’ events might be held, and that the season extend from September 24th (Mercy Day) to December 12th (Foundation Day, which this year falls on 12/12/12). The event could be run by groups at a time and on a date convenient to them.
Last year we launched the Good Cup of Tea event as a fundraiser. Thanks to so many who got involved -you helped us raise an incredible €90,000!
This far exceeded our expectations and gave us wonderful encouragement and support in the work in which MIA engages, Your continued support will enable us to ensure that Mercy International Centre continues to be a centre of rich heritage, renewal and hospitality and a place to welcome home members of our global Mercy family. In particular this year it will enable us to continue and expand the work we do in relation to trafficked women.
Please begin to plan for this year’s event. Tell your friends, start the preparations and let us know about your plans.
For stories about last year’s events, click here
Visit the Good Cup of Tea microsite frequently to keep up with information and resources for the event.
Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA